Program Some Music With This Online Sequencer

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“All Arty and Shit” by bongo_x
Screenshot: turtle.audio

In the 80s, a turtle taught kids how to code, with the educational programming language Logo. Now the browser-based music sequencer turtle.audio combines Logo and Mario Paint to let you program synth loops.

Turtle.audio is less intuitive than a lot of other online music toys, because there are some programming principles involved. Unlike sequencers such as Google’s Song Maker, where all your music tracks follow the same timeline, Turtle.audio works in 2D. Black dots—like the moving turtle in Logo—follow programmed paths, playing each colored note they hit. The same note can lie on different dots’ paths, which encourages users to synchronize their dots into pleasing complementary tunes.

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MetaFilter users made some cute tunes on turtle.audio, including this Undertale loop by NMcCoy, and this Aeon Flux-sounding factory loop by bongo_x, depicted above.

They also demonstrated what is, to a connoisseur of internet music generators, the difference between a robust music sequencer and a mere toy: everything you produce with a toy sounds good, because other options have been stripped away from you. But with a robust sequencer like turtle.audio, you can make some heinous shit.

For example, I’ve vandalized a perfectly nice grid by MetaFilter user codacorolla and twisted it into this: turn down your headphones.

Now that I’ve set the bar low, go make some music.

turtle.audio | via MetaFilter

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Eerie AI-generated portrait fetches $432,500 at auction

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The question of whether a machine can create art, or anything at all, is at the heart of many a philosophical debate and has been for decades. But whether it’s worth something on the market? That point has been settled definitively today as a portrait-like image issuing from an AI sold for nearly half a million dollars at auction.

“Edmond de Belamy,” whom you see above, such as he is, is one of several members of a fictitious family created by a “generative adversarial network,” in turn created by French AI engineers and artists Obvious.

GANs comprise two parts, for which terminology differs but Obvious calls the “generator” and the “discriminator.” Both visual recognition models are given a set of data to ingest, in this case 15,000 portraits from the last 600 years or so. Based on this data, the generator attempts to create new portraits, and the discriminator tries to identify those portraits as either authentic or artificial. The less sure the discriminator is that an image is artificial, the closer it tends to be to the authentic portraits.

The Belamy family is the result of this process playing out many times, producing the strange, distorted faces that have a dreamlike, and also nightmarish, quality to them.

They’re also unmistakably computer-generated. The patriarch and Count of the family, for instance, though the colors and gross figure are interesting and in broad strokes painterly, the pattern of stippling (or whatever you want to tall it) is a telltale mark of a computer attempting to create consistent texture. His wife, the Countess, has a psychedelic oil-slick quality to her hair and dress that’s quite unnatural, and what appears to be craquelure on closer inspection is revealed to be an intricate warping structure reminiscent of Photoshop effects.

“It is an attribute of the model that there is distortion,” explained Hugo Caselles-Dupré, from Obvious, to Christie’s. “The Discriminator is looking for the features of the image — a face, shoulders — and for now it is more easily fooled than a human eye.”

Obviously it doesn’t quite match the old masters. But as you can see from the variety evinced by the Belamy clan, the system has a remarkable range and one can intuitively grasp the type of painting this is — perhaps each even reminds you of a real one.

The full Edmond.

Certainly someone thought that Edmond at least was worth having; Obvious estimated that the painting (though surely a print) would fetch perhaps €10,000 on the block. Imagine the group’s surprise when the bidding escalated to $432,500 — obviously $500 too much for one of the bidders. The new owner remains anonymous, though we may learn more later. For all we know it is Obvious itself (unlikely) or some art holdings company speculating that this early AI piece may become an historic one.

As for the signature, a rather tongue-in-cheek solution was lit on by the team: At the bottom right of Edmond’s canvas is part of the algorithm that created him (though far from all the code required to do so).

The work page is a bit more specific: “generative Adversarial Network print, on canvas, 2018, signed with GAN model loss function in ink by the publisher, from a series of eleven unique images, published by Obvious Art, Paris, with original gilded wood frame.”

We’re no closer to getting at the heart of art, deciding whether these generated constructs count as art, and if so, by whom, but it’s interesting nevertheless. Even if these aren’t exactly the kind of thing you’d want to hang on your wall. That’s true of most art anyway.

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$2.3 Million 2019 McLaren Speedtail Rockets 250 MPH, Has A Flexible Carbon Fiber Body, Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen

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2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

The 2019 McLaren Speedtail is here and it is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. This land rocket ship has remarkable specs, mind-blowing abilities, and an aerodynamic body that would make jet fighter designers green with envy.

The 2019 Speedtail is McLaren’s first “Hyper-GT” and is the British supercar-maker’s fastest automobile they have ever made built, which is quite the accomplishment since the F1’s top speed is 240.1 mph. The Speedtail has a top speed of 250 mph thanks to its gas and electric hybrid powertrain that pumps out 1,035 horsepower. The vehicle has a Velocity mode for maximum aerodynamics that lowers the ride height by 1.4 inches and retracts the rear-facing cameras. This bad boy blasts off from 0-186 mph in a neck-snapping 12.8 seconds.

The design is one of a kind and this hypercar actually bends, but doesn’t break. The Speedtail’s flexible carbon fiber body is made to bend. Despite carbon fiber made not to bend, but McLaren created active rear ailerons as a type of spoiler. McLaren explains their thinking in their press release:

The trailing edge of the Speedtail showcases a particular highlight, namely a pair of active rear ailerons. These dynamic elements are hydraulically actuated and an integral part of the rear clamshell, formed in flexible carbon fiber; the body of the Speedtail can quite literally bend. With a tolerance of only 1mm between the surfaces, this dramatic new technology all but removes any gaps or shutlines between the vehicle and the leading edge of the spoilers, meaning there is no turbulent air, no drag and no loss of speed.

RELATED: Someone Bought A Brand New $300K McLaren And Totaled It The Next Day

You’ll notice that the Speedtail has no rearview mirrors because the company ditched them for retractable digital rearview cameras to make this car as aerodynamic as possible. However, since there are review mirrors, that makes the Speedtail NOT street legal in the United States.

McLaren emphasizes symmetry in the 2019 Speedtail and that is most evident in the cockpit where the driver’s seat is situated in the center of the vehicle. The Speedtail is long, measuring 202.8 inches in length. The wheels are 20-inches in the front and 21-inch units rear, all wrapped in bespoke Pirelli P Zero tires. The front wheels have aero covers for more streamlined air flow.

The Speedtail was previously only known as the “McLaren BP23” back months ago when it was announced, which was the same time that the blistering fast hypercar sold out. That’s right, if you’re reading this it’s too late, the McLaren Speedtail already sold out months before its debut despite having an enormous price tag of $2.3 million. All 106 Speedtails sold out at a private event in London months ago and have an expected delivery date of early 2020.

RELATED: This Ford Mustang Commercial Was Banned By UK Government For ‘Encouraging Unsafe Driving’ (The Car Drove 15 MPH)

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

2019 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren

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Even walking Bitconnect meme Carlos Matos is now calling bitcoin a scam

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Even walking Bitconnect meme Carlos Matos is now calling bitcoin a scam

BITCONNNNNEEEEEEECT!!!!
BITCONNNNNEEEEEEECT!!!!

Image: screenshot bitconnect

2017%2f09%2f18%2f2b%2fjackbw5.32076By Jack Morse

You know you’re in trouble when you’ve lost Carlos Matos.

The walking meme made famous by his unbridled enthusiasm for Bitconnect, a cryptocurrency project strongly resembling a Ponzi scheme that shut down its lending and exchange platform in January, is now here to offer some measured words of caution. Namely, stay the hell away from bitcoin

“Bitcoin Is A Scam,” he tweeted on October 26. “Sell Everything It’s NEVER Going Back Up”

Matos, of course, is best known for promoting a likely scam himself. He launched into meme infamy in October of 2017 after a video of him singing Bitconnect’s praises went viral. 

Importantly, this was all before the price of a BCC token shot up to around $437, and then crashed back down to its current price of $.67. 

If you haven’t seen the clip, recorded at a Bitconnect gala in Thailand, you should go ahead and watch it now. We’ll wait. 

His proclamations of “I love Bitconnect!” were endlessly remixed, and Matos — a self-proclaimed Bitconnect investor — quickly became the face of the project.

Needless to say, none of this worked out so well for him. Even John Oliver took a swing at Matos on Last Week Tonight.

And while Matos surely regrets the day he heard of Bitconnect, you can’t say he didn’t learn anything from the mess he helped create. 

Which, to be clear, is that bitcoin is a scam. 

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How to best view the emotions you feel while trading

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Learning the role emotions play in your
trading

How are you trading at the moment? Or,
more specifically, how are your emotions affecting your trading at the moment?
Take a moment to ask, ‘How do I feel when I am trading well as opposed to how I
feel when I am trading badly?’ Trading is a very emotional pursuit. In fact,
you may have reached the conclusion that you need to remove the emotions
entirely from your trading. This idea is the birth of the automatic trading
robots. The thinking was that the emotions of a trader are getting in their way
and if we can just entirely eradicate that from the trading process then
trading will become easy. Now, this may well be the case for automated high
frequency trading reacting quicker than humans, but many traders will have
their own story of trading robots they have bought. The ‘whatever you call it’ turbo
or Max robinator FX 2099. You may well have your own experience of that sure
fire robot you bought back in 2010. All you had to do was sit on the beach and
drink the cocktails bought to you. The dream probably lasted all of 3 weeks. My
dream lasted until about day two.  The
problem of course is that pure logic has it’s weaknesses. In fact there are
times when it is just stupid to be purely logical.

The latest findings from neuroscience is
that we should combine both our reason and our emotions

Neuroscience
sheds some light on
the role emotions play in our decision making

Now neuroscience is a relatively new
science. The brain has been relatively poorly studied and it is only in the
last twenty years or so that the science has really developed. The most up to
date thinking is that as information comes into us through our senses that is
evaluated by the amygdala part of our brain. The information is then given an
emotional marker or label by the amygdala. Now, once an emotion is tagged to
the event, the information goes up to the Cortex. So, in effect, we are only
evaluating what we have already had a feeling about first. We feel first

and think second. This is obvious to us when we consider the type of
advertising that works. To sell a product a company engages our emotions and
feelings and gets us thinking and feeling first. Adverts don’t give us a list
of pro’s and con’s about a product because we don’t think in a way that is
entirely detached from our emotions. Instead the adverts give us a feel, the
music, the images etc and that is what prompts us to buy and then to think about
the sale. The bottom line is that we feel, before we think.

So, you see the issue?  We can’t trade without emotion. It is a
foolish approach for us to try. So, what purpose do our emotions have. Ok,
emotions actually give us information by making us feel before we  think. That helps us respond quickly. So, if
your feeling fear you will respond quickly to avoid the threat or danger. That
feeling can speed up the whole process of reasoning. Emotions also help us to focus on what is
important. We are drawn to respond to the greatest threats or dangers through
our feelings.  Furthermore, emotions also
help us to have confidence and competence. A competent trader is a confident
trader and, usually, a profitable trader.

Emotions are key in decision making

Accept that all your emotions are very
important in making decisions. Now, extremely strong emotions can hinder our
trading, for sure. They need addressing. However, emotions are not your enemy.
They are your friends. So start to think of emotions as your allies and not
your enemies
. Use the emotions you are feeling as you would a data feed. So,
if you are feeling fear in a trade what does that mean? Perhaps you are over
leveraged and the fear is warning you that you are in danger. Are you feeling
confident? Perhaps that is telling you that your analysis is correct.  Maybe you lack confidence in your trading?
Perhaps that is telling you that you don’t have enough experience yet and you
need to learn more. Listen to your feelings, and don’t ignore them. See them as your assistant,
rather than your enemy.

Conclusion

Emotions are there to help us, rather
than hinder us. We have all heard about EQ – or emotional intelligence, and
that is tapping into that emotional part of us. It is being able to reason emotionally.  Now, emotions can be out of control and they
can be totally indulged. For example, if you feel angry it wouldn’t always be
appropriate to act on that anger. However, reasoning emotionally and being
aware of your emotions is much more in tune with the way we actually think.
Perhaps you are needing to learn to stop trying to suppress and ignore your
emotions and to start listening to them. Perhaps they are trying to tell you
something that you have been ignoring.

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These tiny wasp-inspired drones can open a door 40 times their weight, and could one day be used in disaster zones

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Microdrones

  • Researchers have built tiny microdrones capable of tugging open a door 40 times their weight.
  • They took inspiration from predatory wasps, which can drag large prey along the ground.
  • One researcher said the technology could be adapted for more complex tasks such as moving debris or retrieving objects from disaster zones.

Researchers have built microdrones, capable of tugging open a door 40 times their weight, by studying the biology of predatory wasps.

Robotics researchers at Stanford University and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland wanted to find a way for tiny microdrones to exert "forceful tugging," so they turned to biomimetics — meaning they took inspiration from the natural world.

They observed that wasps are able to carry away large prey by dragging it along the ground. They used this behaviour as a model when creating tiny microdrones, which they named "FlyCroTugs."

Wasp caterpillar

The drones are equipped with cables and winches, and can attach the cable to an object and then anchor themselves to the ground before starting to spool the cable towards themselves.

Using this technology, two FlyCroTugs, each weighing 100 grams, were able to open a door 40 times their mass.

You can watch the microdrones opening the door here:

Part of the FlyCroTug’s design took its cue from another animal. Famous for clinging to walls with their sticky feet, the gecko lizard provided inspiration for the drones’ adhesive.

"Teams of these drones could work cooperatively to perform more complex manipulation tasks," Stanford researcher Matt Estrada told IEEE Spectrum, a magazine dedicated to engineering and applied sciences.

"We demonstrated opening a door, but this approach could be extended to turning a ball valve, moving a piece of debris, or retrieving an object of interest from a disaster zone."

There are still a few hurdles to overcome before the tiny drones could be used in the field. At the moment their battery only lasts for five minutes. The FlyCroTug also requires a human to pilot it, as the researchers have yet to develop any sensing or AI systems for it.

You can read the researchers’ full paper on building the FlyCroTug drone here.

SEE ALSO: This 16-year-old invented a robot that can help scientists keep trees and forests healthy

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales: There’s going to be an ‘enormous backlash’ against Donald Trump’s lies

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Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight

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If we want drones to do our dirty work for us, they’re going to need to get pretty good at hauling stuff around. But due to the pesky yet unavoidable restraints of physics, it’s hard for them to muster the forces necessary to do so while airborne — so these drones brace themselves against the ground to get the requisite torque.

The drones, created by engineers at Stanford and Switzerland’s EPFL, were inspired by wasps and spiders that need to drag prey from place to place but can’t actually lift it, so they drag it instead. Grippy feet and strong threads or jaws let them pull objects many times their weight along the ground, just as you might slide a dresser along rather than pick it up and put it down again. So I guess it could have also just been inspired by that.

Whatever the inspiration, these “FlyCroTugs” (a combination of flying, micro and tug presumably) act like ordinary tiny drones while in the air, able to move freely about and land wherever they need to. But they’re equipped with three critical components: an anchor to attach to objects, a winch to pull on that anchor and sticky feet to provide sure grip while doing so.

“By combining the aerodynamic forces of our vehicle and the interactive forces generated by the attachment mechanisms, we were able to come up with something that is very mobile, very strong and very small,” said Stanford grad student Matthew Estrada, lead author of the paper published in Science Robotics.

The idea is that one or several of these ~100-gram drones could attach their anchors to something they need to move, be it a lever or a piece of trash. Then they take off and land nearby, spooling out thread as they do so. Once they’re back on terra firma they activate their winches, pulling the object along the ground — or up over obstacles that would have been impossible to navigate with tiny wheels or feet.

Using this technique — assuming they can get a solid grip on whatever surface they land on — the drones are capable of moving objects 40 times their weight — for a 100-gram drone like that shown, that would be about 4 kilograms, or nearly 9 pounds. Not quickly, but that may not always be a necessity. What if a handful of these things flew around the house when you were gone, picking up bits of trash or moving mail into piles? They would have hours to do it.

As you can see in the video below, they can even team up to do things like open doors.

“People tend to think of drones as machines that fly and observe the world,” said co-author of the paper, EPFL’s Dario Floreano, in a news release. “But flying insects do many other things, such as walking, climbing, grasping and building. Social insects can even work together and combine their strength. Through our research, we show that small drones are capable of anchoring themselves to surfaces around them and cooperating with fellow drones. This enables them to perform tasks typically assigned to humanoid robots or much larger machines.”

Unless you’re prepared to wait for humanoid robots to take on tasks like this (and it may be a decade or two), you may have to settle for drone swarms in the meantime.

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Start ’em early: 8 of the best laptops for kids

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It will take the purchase of a compatible keyboard (about $100) to transform the Microsoft Surface Go from tablet to laptop, but we think the features included with this device make it a worthy contender on this list. 

The Surface Go security system includes Windows defender and customizable parental controls, as well as built-in parental controls: Only apps verified by the Microsoft store can be downloaded onto the laptop.

The lightweight tablet weighs in at 1.15 pounds, and its sleek frame should be no problem for little hands to handle. The laptop comes equipped with two built-in HD cameras, and it’s small enough to pull double duty so you don’t have to buy a camera for your little shutterbug. The Surface Go also uses Windows Hello technology that lets you log in using the camera, eliminating the chance of your kids forgetting their passwords. 

Speaking of forgetfulness, the tablet boasts 9 hours of battery life, which will benefit those who have a hard time remembering to plug into the charger.

Accessories for the Surface Go – compatible keyboard, pen, and mouse – must be purchased separately. 

Amazon reviewer

Jorge Lu

writes:

“If you need a PC to do light work and can live with a 10 inch display, you’ll love it. Or maybe you want a tablet that can be more than just that. I like the whole philosophy behind it, a device that you can take anywhere and use it in all your activities. After using it at work I can take the keyboard off and watch a movie or browse the web while listening some music or use a pen to do some digital painting as a hobby, It’s just so versatile. I think this is the closest thing to what Microsoft wanted to achieve with the Surface line. Even closer than the already great Surface Pro.

And there’s this premium feel to it. The magnesium body feels very solid, the kickstand doesn’t move if you don’t want to and if you pair it with the Alcantara keyboard it’s just a very different experience that you can feel. And yet it’s so light. You’ll have a disappointing experience touching a plastic laptop after using one of these.”

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Videographer puts an instant camera on a drone and takes unique aerial shots

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Have you ever seen instant aerial photos? I know I haven’t. This is why I was fascinated when I saw a project by aerial cinematographer Trent Siggard. He mounted an instant camera onto a drone and brought the world of instant photography and aerial photography together. In the article below, you can see how he did it and check out the awesome photos he took with this unusual build.

But first, why would you put an instant camera on a drone? Trent says: just because it’s ridiculous! If you ask me, it’s a reason good enough, but there are two more. He wanted to be more intentional in what he shot and to give himself a challenge. So, Trent got to work.

He had an extra 500mm quadcopter frame which was merely collecting dust. So, he got it flying and mounted a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera onto it. There were, of course, some challenges to overcome. For instance, he only had about 2mm to spare in-between the camera and the 11” propellers. This made it very difficult to mount the camera as Trent had to remove it after every 10 photos and put in a new instant film cartridge. But he ended up using a dual lock to mount the camera in a way where it was removable and used some rubber band reinforcement to hold the top of the camera back.

Since the shutter speed is 1/60th and the flash always fires on the camera Trent mounted onto a drone, there were illuminated propellers in some images. Trent dealt with it DIY style – he added a bit of tape over the flash. Problem solved.

Trent even made a reference monitor so he could have a rough idea what he was shooting:

“To have a reference of what the camera was seeing I used a standard FPV camera attached the side of the Instax with dual lock so I could have a reference monitor on the ground and to have a rough idea of what my camera framing was like.”

To trigger the camera, Trent glued a Futaba S3003 Standard Servo to it. He plugged it into the flight controller, mapped the servo channel to a spring-loaded switch on the controller, and limited its travel in his remote.

Trent wrote more about his project in this post, so you can learn more details about how the whole thing was built and used. And of course, make sure to watch the video, too. And other than unique instant photos, what did this project mean for Trent? Well, first of all, it was fun. But also, it made him slow down, think, and shoot one image at a time.

Take a look at more photos below, and check out Trent’s work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

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